Sunday, January 18, 2009

The New Stouts of Mountain Sun

The annual tradition of Stout Month - sort of a Festivus for beer drinkers - doesn't begin until Feb. 1 at Mountain Sun, Southern Sun and Vine Street Pub. But the eclectic Boulder-based brewery already is rolling out some dark goodness perfect for the cold - er, sometime cold - days around here.

(Warning: These beers were consumed yesterday at the Southern Sun at South Broadway and Table Mesa Drive. I can't vouch for them being at the other two locations yet.)

Its Old School Irish Stout, a seasonal that's been out for roughly a month now, has a hard-to-find blend of chocolate malt flavor with smooth, dry oak-aged backing. Its head quickly recedes, leaving a lighter-bodied stout with a slight blackberry backdrop to the cocoa aroma. A sweetness picks up the longer this sits. In the end, you are left with two thoughts. The first is that it may not be overwhelming in its complexity, but it is soothing and comforting and everything you ask of a stout in January. The second is that the lighter body allows this to pair shockingly well with nachos. Oh yeah, that's a bonus.

The Korova Cream Stout, named after the drug-stocked milk bar in "A Clockwork Orange," also is an easy sipper, though it might be a little too easy for stout lovers. The head sticks around a little longer on this nitrogen-infused stout, which made its 2009 debut just this weekend, but there is little more than a vague roasted malt characteristic on the front taste. The lingering backtaste has a more pronounced hop characteristic, leaving a slightly bitter mouthfeel. There is also a distant toffee caramel taste, but overall this is slightly less interesting than its Irish brethren. Then again, it is a cream stout, so the name may tell you all you need to know.

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